COVID-19 INTERVENTION: Agric for Food and Job Plan Kicks-Off in Katsina as FG Flags-Off Economic Sustainability Plan

The Federal Government has launched the Agriculture for food and job plan AFJP), a major take-off for the agriculture component of the Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan (NESP) targeting smallholder farmers. The project would mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy and livelihoods of farmers by creating more access to food for and the rapid emergence of competitive food production, processing and distribution in Nigeria.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono stated this during the official launch of the Agriculture for food and job plan(AFJP) in Funtua, Katsina State, today, Thursday 23rd July 2020. Alhaji Sabo Nanono informed that Mr President set up an Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibanjo to fashion out a plan on COVID -19 intervention.

Alhaji Nanono said ‘’one of the strategies adopted by the Committee is the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan (AFJP), stating that the Programme will aid the transformation of the Nigerian agriculture from its largely low yielding and subsistent state to a high yielding technology-based farming system’’.Speaking further, he said that the strategies would generate appropriate welfare gains consistent with the Federal Government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) and Green Alternative strategies.

The Minister said that the plan, “is also in tandem with the three-pronged action plan of the Ministry to deal with the impact of the pandemic on Nigerian agriculture and farmers’’. Nanono explained that ‘’these measures include among others, the life-saving humanitarian assistance to vulnerable households to buffer the impact of COVID-19, such as the release of about 100,000 metric tons of assorted food commodities from the National Food Reserve to several groups and communities”.

The Minister highlighted the deliverables of the AFJP as contained in the NESP in 12 months: ” creation of between 5- 10 million jobs in the agric sector, produce about 10,000,000 MT of food, cultivate between 20,000 – 100,000 hectares of land per State based on land availability to an aggregate of 2.4 million farmers tied to farmlands, input financing loan to farmers will be zero interest, land clearing and preparation support, among others “.Accordingly, the Minister, ” this symbolic launch represents over 1,100,000 smallholder farmer-beneficiaries in 36 states and the FCT on the Batch A list under 6 partners namely AFEX, BabanGona, Value Seeds, Universal, Thrive Agric and Oxfam. We will soon be announcing Batch B beneficiaries”, he averred.

He lauded the continuous support of OCP AFRICA Fertilizer Limited for its initiative “”in the provision of soil testing equipment and supply of 20 units of OCP branded Motorcycles, Android Tablets and safety of kits to support the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development meant to support Extension Services”.In his Goodwill Message, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, stressed that the Agric sector is the bedrock of the economy and appreciated the efforts of the Federal Government under the Leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for his visionary policies in the Agric sector.

The Chairman, House Committee on Agric. Production Services, Hon. Muntari Danduste, during his Goodwill message, thanked Mr President for providing COVID – 19 Agricultural intervention palliative to the farmers in Katsina State which he said would cushion the effects of the Pandemic on 2020 farming season in the state and the nation at large.In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Abdulkadir Mua’zu, represented by the Director, Department of Agriculture Extension, Engr. Frank Kudla said that ‘’ your presence here is an indication of our recognition intervention of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the efforts of the Ministry to reposition Nigerian agricultural system and increase farmers’ resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated negative impacts. Your continuous support will go a long way in ensuring that the objective of the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan is achieved’’. Dr Mua’zu noted that ‘’our coming together is because we are determined to join forces for action against COVID-19 pandemic, hunger and poverty. I, therefore, implore you all, especially our partners, to work hard to ensure that the core activities of these Project are carried out to a logical conclusion in the coming months’

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IN KANO: Agric Minister, Alh. Mohammad Sabo Nanono, earlier in Kano State flags-off 2020 Wet Season Farming for APPEALS Rice Farmers.

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Alh. Mohammad Sabo Nanono has flagged off the distribution of wet season farming support for improved rice production technologies among rice farmers at Tofai community in Gabasawa Local Government Area of Kano State.

The programme is part of the interventions being implemented under the Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) project.

Speaking at the event, the Minister – Alh. Nanono said the initiative would support farmers to achieve improved productivity, enhance self-sufficiency and food security in the country.

He said: “We have commenced farmer registration exercise to capture their information, number of farmlands and locations. Also, the beneficiaries will be monitored to ensure effective utilisation of the facility, and mobilise participation in subsequent programmes.”

Alh. Nanono commended the APPEALS Project for supporting rice farmers in the state, noting that the gesture would go a long way to encourage agricultural activities in the country.

The minister urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the of fertiliser, seeds and inputs given to them to boost their production capacity.

“If you make proper use of the inputs, you could employ other people and it will enable you to participate in subsequent programmes.”

Also speaking, the State Project Coordinator, APPEALS Project in the state, Mr. Hassan Ibrahim, said the project was being executed in a joint collaboration between the World Bank, Federal Government and the six participating states of Kano, Kaduna, Cross River, Enugu, Lagos and Kogi.

About 100 farmers drawn from six rice farmer groups participated in the programme in Gabasawa. It is expected that 480 tons of rice would be produced by the selected farmers in Kano State.

The State Project Coordinator noted that the gesture was to augment the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture, designed to encourage productivity, enhance farmer enterprising skills, food security and value addition as well as export promotion.

COVID-19: FG Calls for Robust Synergy with State Governments to Cushion Effect of COVID-19 on Food Security

The Federal Government has called for a robust synergy with State Governments and other critical Stakeholders in cushioning the effect of COVID -19 Pandemic on Food Security. Stating that this will ensure food security, economic growth, job creation and prevent food scarcity in the Country.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri stated this during the flag-off ceremony of the distribution of free agricultural inputs to farmers as part of the mitigation measures against the Pandemic. The event was held at the Ministry’s Zonal office, Moore Plantation, Apata – Ibadan, in Oyo State, today.

Hon. Baba Shehuri noted that ‘’ a number of countries have banned or drastically reduced food exports to avoid scarcity of food. With dwindling oil revenues and limited opportunity to import food from other countries, one would only wonder what Nigeria would have been experiencing today, in terms of food supply, if this Administration had not taken the right policy steps and remained focused and steadfast in investing in agriculture”.

The Minister emphasized that the Ministry is supporting breeder and foundation seeds production and linking up with the private seed companies to make certified seeds available to farmers for excellent yield.

He pointed out that ‘’ since smallholders are the most vulnerable, it becomes imperative for the government to support them with the much-needed inputs especially seeds, which is the most important factor that influences farmers’ yield in order to enable them to recover quickly from the set back of the Pandemic’’.

Baba Shehuri informed that ‘’the distribution of agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers which include different categories of seeds of Kenaf, yam and cocoa seedlings is part of the Ministry’s intervention to reduce the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural production in Nigeria and avert food scarcity in 2021’’.

He also said that ‘’through this effort and other complementary interventions by different stakeholders, the government hopes to increase the resilience of farmers and the national food systems in general’’.

He stated that ‘’the Ministry is supporting kenaf farmers through the Kenaf Producers, Processors and Marketers Association (KEPPMAN) with 19,672 kg kenaf foundation seeds.

The Minister added that ‘’ the yam farmers through their national association and other cooperative groups are also being supported with about 12 MT of foundation seed for the production of certified seeds’’.

He explained that ‘’the Ministry is also distributing over 18,000kg of organic insecticide to combat armyworm infestation in maize. We are also distributing 66,000 cocoa seedlings to farmers nationwide. These seeds are being given to farmers free of charge while other inputs are given at 75% subsidy’’.

Hon Shehuri stated that ‘’ In our input distribution efforts, at least 35% of the inputs are targeted at women farmers in line with the targets set in our National Gender Plan and Policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women. This has been communicated to the Farmer Associations accordingly’’.

He noted that ‘’ the Ministry and its research institutions are working towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in good quality seeds and its availability to farmers as a foundation for attaining food and nutrition security as well as industrialization’’.

He emphasized that the Ministry is supporting breeder and foundation seeds production and linking up with the private seed companies to make certified seeds available to farmers.

Shehuri stressed that ‘’ this coupled with Ministry’s efforts to improve rural infrastructure and other value-chains supports would invariably contribute to the attainment of Mr President’s desire to ensure easy access to quality food and nutrition by Nigerians’’.

Hon. Baba Shehuri further said that ‘’ this is the third in the series of the distribution of the Ministry’s palliative incentive to farmers nationwide with Kogi State as the next port of call. He also appreciated the robust cooperation and support received from Development Partners in the fight against the effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our food security.

In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde, represented by the Secretary of the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, said that “the countries that have successfully managed their own agricultural transformation have incorporated the following processes: modernizing business, strengthening the links between process, production and market.

The Governor added that “they have also adopted innovative and modern technology to ensure a data-driven process that is empirically documented and evidence-driven”,. He appreciated the Federal Government for being proactive toward ensuring that Nigeria averted food scarcity in 2021.

In his welcome address, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development in Oyo State, Hon. Ojekunle Ojemuyiwa stated that ” this event is very apt at this critical period of COVID-19 Pandemic which is ravaging the economy of the world including Nigeria. COVID- 19 Pandemic is a monster that all hands must be on deck to curtail and eradicate from our society “.

While giving the vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu, represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Hajia Karima Babaginda, said that the choice of Oyo State is not out of place as it is known to be the highest hub for agricultural institutes in the country and also contributes significantly to the production of yam, cocoa among others.

Dr. Mu’azu thanked his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. OluSeyi Makinde for gracing the occasion and rolling out the seed distribution exercise of Kenaf, yam and cocoa farmers; and the organic insecticide to combat armyworm in maize.

PRESS STATEMENT

On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, I would like to state that the Ministry is not unmindful of the outstanding liabilities owed to contractors and to also affirm that the Honourable Ministers, the Permanent Secretary and the management team share in the agony of the contractors which has informed their agitations. The Ministers and Permanent Secretary inherited these liabilities and are in the process of compiling and verifying all outstanding contract liabilities. While this process is on-going, the Ministry is appealing for the patience, understanding and cooperation of the contractors to enable her complete this process and forward the outcome to Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for further action.

Theodore Ogaziechi

Director Information

22nd May, 2020

FG Appoints Alwan Ali Hassan, Acting Managing Director for Bank of Agriculture.

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate dissolution of the Interim Management Team and the appointment of an Acting Managing Director for the Bank of Agriculture in the person of Mr Alwan Ali Hassan, a seasoned Banker with over two decades of experience in the banking industry.

The approval of Mr President was conveyed to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono via a letter dated May 5, 2020, with reference No. PRES/95/MARD/14.

Mr Hassan’s appointment is most apt and will expectedly turn the fortunes of the bank around considering his decades of experience in the banking sector He worked with Bank PHB, First Bank of Nigeria, African International Bank Limited, United Bank for Africa and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Alwan Hassan hails from Kano State and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He has served on the Management Boards of Orient Bank, Uganda; Bank PHB in the Gambia and Platinum Capital and Trust Limited, Nigeria.

Alwan Hassan who until his appointment was Chairman/CEO Midrange Universal Biz Ltd., is a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors among others. He also has thorough grooming of management prowess having attended trainings at the famous IMD Business School Luasanne, Switzerland and Intrados Business School, Washington DC, USA

The Bank of Agriculture is the nation’s apex agricultural and rural development finance institution, saddled with the responsibility of providing agricultural credit facilities in support of agricultural value chain activities, will benefit immensely from the vast banking experiences of Alwan Ali Hassan.

Mr Hassan is married with children.

 

COVID-19: Joint Technical Task Team Lauds Compliance to Presidential Directive on Free Movements on Agricultural Inputs

The Chairman, Joint Technical Task Team on Emergency
Response on the ease of movement of livestock, food stuff and agricultural
inputs, Inspector AIG Austin Agbonlahor have lauded the compliance by security
personnel to the directive issued by President Muhammadu Buhari during his
nationwide broadcast. The directive is further facilitated by the task team to
ensure strict compliance to avoid food scarcity across the nation.

Agbonlahor and other members of the Task Team accompanied by
the media visited some major Checkpoints along the Abuja – Kaduna and Abuja –
Keffi dual carriage ways in the North- Central Geopolitical Zone stopping at
Tarfa in Kaduna, Sabon Wuse in Niger and Keffi, Nasarrwa for on-the-spot
compliance assessment.

The AIG, while commending the officers on duty, admonished them to ensure proper screening of the vehicles conveying the agricultural products and reminded them that the directive does not give room for movement of persons, illegal arms and ammunition and illicit drugs.

He informed that similar security set up is replicated
across the 36 states of the federation with the primary objective
of facilitating free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and
agricultural inputs as well as farmer’s movement across the nation during the
lockdown and 2020 farming season to avoid food crises while also assuring that
the exercise is a continuous one.

COVID-19: FG Inaugurates Joint Task Team as Emergency Need Arises to Ease Movement of Food and Agricultural Inputs Across the Nation.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has inaugurated the joint technical
task team on emergency response to COVID-19. The Joint task team is to
facilitate the free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and agricultural
inputs and farmer’s movement across the nation during the lockdown and 2020
farming season to avoid food crises.

Speaking during the inauguration in
Abuja today, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, charged the committee ‘’to facilitate
the free movement of food, livestock and agricultural inputs nationwide to
avoid food shortages and ensure minimal impact of COVID -19 on this year’s
farming season’’.

Nanono pointed out that ‘’numerous
reports have been received by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development on the problem faced by transporters of food, livestock and
agricultural inputs in different parts of the country’’ as a result of the
unavoidable enforcement of restriction orders.

This he said have resulted in food
scarcity and negatively affected the nation’s agricultural production.

The Minister stated that an emergency
meeting with the Ministers of Defence, Interior and Police Affairs deliberated
and articulated a common agenda towards ensuring the minimal impact of COVID-19
on this year’s farming season in line with the directives of Mr. President and
has prompted the Joint Task Technical Team inaugurated today.

Responding on behalf of the Joint
Technical Task Team, the Committee Chairman, Assistant Inspector General of
Police, (Operations), Austin Agbonlahor, pledged the committee’s commitment to
the tasks ahead and promised to deliver on its mandate.

The Joint Technical Task Team is made
up of the following members; AIG Austin Agbonlahor, AIG P(Operations) –
Chairman, ACG Bunu Modu, Nigeria Security & Civil Defense Crops – Member,
Umar Farouk Mudi, National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN)
– Member, Representative, Nigeria Army – Member, Mr. Chris Isizuzo, National
Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), Ibikunle Tajudeen Barruwa,
National President, NURTW – Member and Zubariu Abdullahi, Director, Planning
and Policy Coordination, FMARD – Secretary and it’s Terms of Reference are as
follows:

• to work with relevant agencies in
the States and Local Government Areas to develop a window that will facilitate the
free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and Agricultural inputs without
compromising the security and health of the nation.

• to issue out clear instruction to
all the security personnel in the three internal security outfits of police,
civil defence and the army on the need to allow the free and unhindered
movement of foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural inputs to all parts of
Nigeria.

• to work with the National Union of
Roads Transport Workers (NURTW), to adequately educate its members in ensuring
that vehicles conveying foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural inputs (excluding
passengers) are allowed to pass and

• to ensure that adequate information
clarifying the controlled movement of foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural
inputs is disseminated by the media to food transporters and security
personnel.

COVI9-19 and the Food Supply Chains Inter-Ministerial Policy Response Meeting.

The meeting, which has in attendance, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh. Muhammad Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Defence, Major Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (RTD), Minister of Police Affairs, Alh. Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi and Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

In his speech, Alh. Sabo Nanono disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working closely with the relevant government organisations to ensure appropriate food policy responses, which include:

I. Ensuring that transportation of food and agricultural inputs are unhindered by the restriction of movements to ensure that supply chains are kept open and functional.

II. Incorporating Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) to eliminate or reduce the risk of food surfaces and food packaging materials becoming contaminated.

III. Supporting the most vulnerable population by releasing assorted food via safety net interventions to complement food distributions in specific areas of vulnerability.

The interactive meeting involving key government institutions which are the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Police Affairs is expected to discuss issues, challenges and innovative solutions that would permit easy access for the food supply chain in the country in line with broader government’s objective of ensuring a healthy and food secured nation in the face of COVID-19 Pandemic.

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